Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Masters exonerated in 1987 Fort Collins murder, gets apology from DA - The Denver Post

Masters exonerated in 1987 Fort Collins murder, gets apology from DA - The Denver Post

The statewide grand jury investigating the 1987 murder of Peggy Hettrick has concluded that Timothy Masters was not responsible for her death, prompting an apology from the Larimer district attorney to the man who spent a decade behind bars for the crime.

"Pursuant to the mandate from the Governor's Office, our team undertook a comprehensive review of the entire Hettrick homicide," said Colorado Attorney General John Suthers. "Our team conducted more than 170 interviews and conducted further DNA analysis. Throughout the past year, the Statewide Grand Jury heard evidence and testimony from numerous witnesses. Based on the testimony, the forensic analysis and the crime scene analysis, the overwhelming conclusion is that Timothy Masters was not involved in the murder of Peggy Hettrick."

Masters was released from prison in 2008, and informally cleared of any suspicion in the case. But while he received a $10 million payment from Fort Collins and Larimer County, he didn't get a formal declaration of exoneration or an apology - until today.

"I believe it is appropriate as the current district attorney and on behalf of the criminal justice system in Larimer County to express our apologies to Timothy Masters, his family and friends for the conviction and sentence he endured 12 years ago," said Larimer District Attorney Larry R. Abrahamson.

While the apology and exoneration may represent a last measure of redemption for Masters, the failure of the statewide grand jury to find a new suspect after a year of investigation casts fresh doubt on whether authorities will ever solve Hettrick's killing.

Her stabbed and mutilated body was found on the morning of Feb. 11, 1987, in a field near Masters home. She had been at a local bar the night before, but left alone. She was 37.

Authorities had no physical evidence linking Masters, then 15, to the crime, but used his fantastic drawings and knives found in his home to persuade a jury to convict him on purely circumstantial evidence. He was sentenced to life in prison.

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